Arashi Yama Employees Physically Assault Animal-Rights Activists at Foie Gras Protest

Arashi Yama Employees Physically Assault Animal-Rights Activists at Foie Gras Protest

Editor’s Notes | Individuals who appeared to be in charge of Arashi Yama are hereinafter referred to as affiliates of Arashi Yama due to independent verification not being received of their specific employment positions. 

At 5:30 pm yesterday, local animal rights activist group GNV Animal Defenders held a protest against local Japanese restaurant Arashi Yama for the presence of foie gras on their menu. Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose. 

Activists wielding megaphones and noisemakers and affiliates of Arashi Yama wielding air horns raced around the parking lot in confrontations. 

In the midst of the chaos, a man and woman wearing Arashi Yama uniforms engaged in direct confrontation with an activist who was chanting “Force-fed ducks - Foie gras sucks” through a megaphone. 

The male Arashi Yama affiliate was wielding an air-horn, while the woman was wielding a middle finger. The man blew the horn in the activist’s face while using his hand to knock away his megaphone. The woman raised her middle finger toward the activist’s face repeatedly to indicate her strong displeasure with the protest. 

The male Arashi Yama affiliate appeared to be spraying some form of mist or water from his air horn. It wasn’t entirely clear what it was. 

After walking away, the Arashi Yama affiliates appeared to engage in confrontation with another protester wielding a megaphone. This caused the male activist wielding a megaphone to walk over, and confrontation was re-engaged between him and the male Arashi Yama affiliate wielding an air horn. 

The male Arashi Yama affiliate used his air horn to hit the activist’s megaphone. Then he and two female Arashi Yama affiliates engaged in more confrontations with all of the protesters. One of the female Ashari Yama affiliates appeared to make a fist-throwing motion towards multiple protesters. 

It does not appear anyone was physically injured or battered at the protest. The Arashi Yama affiliates’ actions of making striking motions towards the protesters faces and handheld items may constitute assault. 

Under Florida law, physical contact is not required for assault, and it “requires an apparent ability to [commit violence], and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.” 

The male Arashi Yama affiliate with the airhorn appeared to make statements indicating he believed he was within his rights because the entire Magnolia Park Plaza is constituted as private property. The activist with the megaphone said the Arashi Yama affiliate was not within his rights.

Protesters continued to chant “Force-fed ducks-Foie gras sucks,” as a response to ducks being force-fed more food in factories than they would naturally eat in the wild for foie gras production. The corn-boiled feed, which is filled with fat, is fed to the ducks to increase the size of their livers.  A metal tube is placed down their throats to administer the feed. 

There has been litigation and bans involving the use of foie gras in several countries, states, and municipalities.


Foie gras is still imported into most of the countries where it is banned; the bans are on production. India is the only country to ban the importation of foie gras. California businesses can't sell the product, but residents can still purchase foie gras that was produced out of state. 

Protesters continued chanting on the sidewalk. The restaurant’s affiliates and individuals, some of whom appeared to be diners, both periodically arrived on the stump positioned above the protesters to argue or record the scene.  

One man who engaged in a verbal confrontation with the protesters was told he looked stupid because he could not be heard. He was then told to shove two middle fingers “up his ass.” The man flipped the activists off as he walked away. 


Shortly after this interaction, four Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officers arrived on the scene. At this point, roughly thirty minutes have passed since the protesters’ arrival. 

As the officers were interacting with Arashi Yama affiliates, the man with the megaphone continued, stating, “We’re not against you specifically. We’re not against the police. We are against the abject suffering of animals. We are against forcing ducks to have metal pipes shoved down their throats.”

A man responded to the activist’s statements, questioning, “What about baby cows being forced to stand in stalls?” 

Gnv Animal Defenders continued their chants, and another man sarcastically responded, “Yeah, stop General Mills from putting chemicals in food.” The activist with the megaphone said back, “That too.” 

The other man once again came to the defense of baby cows and questioned the confined conditions of cows in factory farming. Another activist with a megaphone responded, “We don’t fucking do that. What do you think we’re here for?” 

The man with the megaphone then made an announcement, stating, “Just as a public service announcement, we would love to sit down with you and have a cordial conversation with you and show you a good chunk of footage that we’ve compiled and show you how foie gras is produced. How apathetic it is. How much abject suffering there is.”

The activist went on to say that Arashi Yama ignored Gnv Animal Defender's repeated emails asking them to take foie gras off their menu. He called out the management over his megaphone, saying, “You ignore those pleas; you ignore that education. So now we are here, and we will continue to be here until you drop foie gras. We don’t care if it takes a day, a week, months, or years; we will keep fighting back.”  

An officer proceeded to approach the activists and said he was handed a trespass authorization form for the entirety of Magnolia Park Plaza. The officer said that the landlord signed the trespass authorization form for GPD to enforce. The protesters left shortly after they were told this, however; the first amendment protects the protesters’ rights to demonstrate on the nearby sidewalk.

One protester sent a message to GnvInfo afterwards saying she and other activists returned to the sidewalk shortly after leaving. She said Arashi Yama affiliates followed her and other protesters to their cars. The protester sent a photo of a message written on her car’s back windshield by the people following her. It says, “I know you now.”

The protester went on to say that a “weirdo vigilante dude” tried to shut them down when they returned and that it was filmed. She said pushing was involved and that a Youtube video will be posted on the channel “Animal Activism Mentorship.”

A day before the protest, GnvInfo attempted to follow Arashi Yama on their private Instagram account to ask for a public comment but was blocked before a message was sent. 

The male Arashi Yama affiliate attempted to stare down the recording camera and gained close proximity to blow his air horn at it. Further attempts for public comment haven’t been made. 


Notably, GNV Animal Defenders has posted a video to their Instagram account that shows an account with the username Farmernarco directly messaging them a video that shows a man proudly showing what comes out of his bowels. 

GNV Animal Defenders exposed the sender on their Instagram account. They captioned the post, “After animal rights activists asked Arashi Yama to drop foie gras, a man who appears to be their chef, Marco Valencia, drops a deuce instead! If this is their chef, that means that this sicko handles the food at Arashi Yama. As if foie gras isn't disgusting enough, patrons of the restaurant better hope this dude washed his hands.”  

The referenced man does in fact appear to be their chef, as comparison between Valencia‘s LinkdIn account and alleged Instagram account match up. The same first and last name is shown on both accounts.

Arashi Yama has a 4.6 star rating on Google reviews, with 304 reviews in total. The majority of reviews are overwhelmingly positive; however, there are also a notable number of reviews that are overwhelmingly negative, with a few corroborating the presumed health code violation shown in the video sent by Farmernarco to GNV Animal Defenders.  

Two reviews from a year ago stand out, with one reporting seeing an employee touching multiple servers’ hair and not washing their hands after. 

Another reviewer reported that he and his wife contracted food poisoning after eating at Arashi Yama. Arashi Yama responded, “I am sorry for your illness; however, it did not come from this restaurant.” The reviewer replied that the food poisoning was from Arashi Yama food, as “it was the only food that was ate.”  

The most recent food establishment inspection of Arashi Yama in January 2024, publicly released through the Gainesville Sun, says the restaurant met inspection standards but detailed 13 code violations. These violations included, but were not limited to,

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine/bin” and “Nonfood-contact surface soiled with grease, food debris, dirt, slime or dust. Top of dish machine. **Repeat Violation**”

Going further back reveals more healthcare code violations. The August 2023 code inspector noted,

“Food stored on floor. Bag of carrots stored on floor in walk-in cooler. Cases of chicken and fish stored on floor in walk-in freezer. **Repeat Violation**" The inspector went on to detail, “No proof provided that food employees are informed of their responsibility to report to the person in charge information about their health and activities related to foodborne illnesses. Three employees missing employee reporting agreements. Required employee training expired for some employees.” 

The June 2023 code inspector writes,

“Establishment has no written procedures for employees to follow in response to a vomiting or diarrheal event where the vomit or diarrhea is discharged onto surfaces in the establishment. No written procedure is available. Inspector provided operator with written procedure. **Corrective Action Taken**”

There are a plethora of more health code violations against Arashi Yama, with approximately 58 since 2022. 

This protest was not the striking flame that ignited the feud between Arashi Yama and Gnv Animal Defenders. 

Their first protest occurred last week, with the group posting footage of their entrance into the restaurant on their Instagram. The caption of the post read, “Staff immediately became hostile and called the police. Ducks and geese in the foie gras industry are held in tiny cages and live in constant discomfort and pain with no relief whatsoever. They are force-fed by having pipes shoved all the way down their throats so that their livers become overgrown and then end up on plates as a so-called delicacy at restaurants like Arashi Yama.”

Gnv Animal Defenders’ message on Instagram for why they’re campaigning against foie gras

It isn’t entirely clear who is the owner or runs the day-to-day operations of Arashi Yama. It appears to be a family-owned business, as a Gainesville Sun article says it is owned by Fannie Lin and her husband, Benny Bao, while the business is legally registered to Xiaolan Lin. 

This page may be updated if Arashi Yama issues a public response or if any more information regarding these incidents is received.  

Update: At 7:00 pm animal activist group Animal Activism Mentorship released footage showing that the primary Arashi Yama instigator held a gun in a holster throughout his altercation with protesters.

Animal Activism Mentorship
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Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL